Elections Act 2022

The Elections Bill has just received Royal Assent and so it has become the Elections Act 2022. Among other things it removes the 15-year rule for overseas voters, so we should soon all be able to register to vote in UK national elections.

It has been a very long haul, but now we have got there!


Posted in Voting Rights | 2 Comments

‘Votes for life’ for British citizens living abroad

“New measures announced in the Queen’s Speech will make it easier for British citizens who have moved abroad to participate in our democracy.”

“Decisions made in the UK Parliament on foreign policy, defence, immigration, pensions and trade deals affect British citizens who live overseas. It is therefore right that they have a say in UK Parliamentary General Elections.”

“Today the Government is setting out further detail on plans to scrap the arbitrary rule that prevents British citizens from voting in General Elections if they have lived abroad for more than 15 years.”


Posted in Voting Rights | 4 Comments

Britons living abroad merit dedicated MPs’

“It’s a big hill to climb” says Paul Fisher, Chairman of Lib Dems in France but let’s “go for gold”

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Overseas Electors Bill 2017-2019 – “Talked out” at Second Reading 22nd March, 2019

“Britons who have lived abroad for more than 15 years lose the right to vote in UK elections. This would have changed had a Private Member’s Bill with government support passed last month – but a Conservative MP talked it out. Susan Collard (University of Sussex) says the incident reveals the shortcomings of parliamentary democracy.”

Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, “talked out” the Overseas Electors Bill 2017-2019, at the second reading in parliament on the 22nd March, 2019.

Posted in Voting Rights | 5 Comments

A View on Votes for Life and Overseas Representation

“Votes for Life” were promised twice in manifestos by the Conservative Party and yet still here we are, many of us, still screaming out but voiceless.

Let’s trust the promise of “introducing” it before 2022 means quick implementation rather than the mere token initiation of a tedious drawn-out process. Still, it is promised at last.

Nevertheless, there still seems to me there is a glaring error with the proposed form.

The Government does not support the creation of parliamentary constituencies for overseas electors, stating it is the “right principle that overseas electors continue to have some form of connection to the area of the country where they were last resident.”

What an anachronism! Yes, the majority of us maintain ties with the UK. But with our former constituency in the area we last happened to live in?

We are no longer living in the last century! There may well be many amongst us who do have their heart and interests fixed firmly in their last UK constituency, but these days, it is more usual for people to move several times in their lives. Strong ties may well be anywhere other than the constituency they last lived in in the UK.

If, by example, your electoral area changed from Yorkshire to Devon, you gained representation in Devon. Now you have dared to cross a national border to your new home, you remain represented by an MP whose main point of focus is Yorkshire – where’s the sense in that?

When I return to the UK, I spend most time in Essex or Kent with family. I am fully engaged with UK politics and its effects on myself and my family. Yet my MP hails from a constituency in Derbyshire – the place I just happened to land up in through work commitments.

The Government’s lack of logic is a nonsense. Why should I be treated any differently if I choose to move to France than if I had chosen to move to another British area? Am I not as equally entitled as any other UK elector to representation by an MP who is relevant? Overseas constituencies must be established.

This is especially vital now that more Brits are choosing to live or work overseas.  MoveHub reported in 2017 that there had been an upsurge in moving enquiries made by 18 to 35-year-old young professionals of around 60%, adding: “The will to live abroad and experience different cultures is ever growing among young people”. The UK needs to keep the younger generations actively engaged and this will not be by acting so parochially.

Four European countries already have representation for external voters in place – Croatia, France, Italy and Portugal – as well as many other non-European countries.

Is it not time the UK Government grasped the nettle of creating Overseas Constituencies as well? And what better time than now, whilst they are reforming the Votes for Life rule?

Christina Hendy-Jones, LibDems in France Data Officer

(Both Votes for Life and Overseas Constituencies are part of  2018 LibDems in France campaigns – www.libdemsinfrance.org)  

Posted in LibDems Call for Expat Vote, Nick Clegg Defends Voting, Overseas Electors Bill, Separate Constituencies for Overseas Voters?, Votes for Life & Overseas Constituencies | 6 Comments

British Government response to Petition on Right to Vote.

The Government has responded to the petition – “Give all British citizens living abroad the right to vote and dedicated MPs”.

Government response:

The Government remains committed to introducing ‘votes for life’ ahead of the next scheduled General Election in 2022 but has no plans to create overseas constituencies.

The Government’s principle is clear: participation in our democracy is a fundamental part of being British, no matter how far you have travelled. The Government remains committed to scrapping the 15 year limit on the voting rights of overseas electors ahead of the next scheduled General Election in 2022, subject to securing the necessary Parliamentary approval.

Glyn Davies’ Private Member’s Bill on Overseas Electors successfully passed its second reading in the House of Commons on 23 February 2018 and will now be moving on to the next stage of legislative passage. The Government spoke in favour of the bill during the debate. If it becomes law, this bill would implement the Government’s manifesto commitment to deliver ‘votes for life’. We encourage all eligible British citizens to register to vote, wherever they live.

The Government agrees that all British citizens who move to another country should be able to vote for a Member of Parliament to represent their interests. This would be the Member of Parliament representing the area in which an overseas elector previously lived.

The Government does not support the creation of parliamentary constituencies for overseas electors. We believe it is the right principle that overseas electors continue to have some form of connection to the area of the country where they were last resident. This is the approach taken generally in other democracies with overseas voting.

Cabinet Office

Click this link to view the response online:


The Petitions Committee will take a look at this petition and its response. They can press the government for action and gather evidence. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Committee will consider it for a debate.

The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government.

Find out more about the Committee: https://petition.parliament.uk/help#petitions-committee

The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament

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Overseas Electors Bill

Here’s a personal guest posting of support from Erika Angelidi, the Conservatives Abroad Representative in Greece, on the right to vote for British expatriates:

Ιn view of the 23rd February 2018 when the Overseas Electors Bill successfully passed its second reading in the UK Parliament, I wish to express some personal thoughts regarding the issue of the right to vote for Expatriates.

I personally believe that each British citizen who resides outside of the UK, even for a longer period of time, does not cease to be interested in the present or future of the UK. He is of British citizenship and this is something that he carries throughout his life. To refuse the right to vote to a UK citizen based on the date where he left the country to live elsewhere is equal to being cast off. This argument does not reflect emotions alone, it goes deep into the connection of the mother country and its people, the very bond of citizenship.

Besides this, a question of properly exercising civil and political rights is raised. It must be noted that each Party that is voted to power decides on, promotes and applies different policies regarding its citizens who live abroad. In view of this fact, it is obvious that a citizen living abroad must be able to vote in favour of the party that best represents his interests as a British citizen and as an Expatriate.

Let us hope that this Bill will eventually be brought into Law and provide that all British citizens living abroad will have the right to vote regardless of the time they stopped having residence in the UK. British Expatriates are a part of British society and contribute to its dynamic and welfare. Expatriates deserve to vote for life!

Erika Angelidi,
Conservatives Abroad Representative,

Posted in Voting Rights | 7 Comments

New Petition on Right to Vote for all British Citizens Abroad

Here’s a new petition worth signing on behalf of all us British citizens resident abroad,  without the right to vote.


Posted in New Right to Vote Petition 2017 | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Latest on Votes for Life – Overseas Electors Bill

Brian Cave who over the years has made a leading and major contribution to our campaign for Votes for Life for British citizens resident abroad, has recently written the following letter to Glyn Davies, MP who has tabled an Overseas Electors Bill:
Dear Mr. Davies,
I am delighted to see you have tabled an Overseas Electors Bill. I have long been involved with others in fighting for this, and I am here copying to various others who have tried for so long to achieve this.
I  imagine that several might be writing to you with letters of support.  One of them (Roger Boaden) drew my attention to your initiative. Harry Shindler (aged 95) has often been in touch for many years on this issue. Rodney Harper years ago launched the web site http://www.votes-for-expat-brits.com to publicise the matter.
It hit me forcibly when the Blair Government reduced my right to vote from 20 years to 15. How dare any Government remove my right to vote! Thereby removing my right to representation to the Government which acts in my name as a British Citizen and on whom I depend for my income.
If I and my wife and thousands like us had had the vote restored, the current political events may have been avoided. Harry Shindler visited Mr. Skidmore earlier this year and had the promise of this Bill.  Why, one asks, has the Government itself not tabled it?
I am sure we will be interested to read the details of the Bill as soon as we can.
Yours sincerely
Brian Cave (aged 85)
Resident in France but totally dependent on the UK for finance, and healthcare support.
Brian Cave Gourdon 46300 France
Tel:- +33 (0) 565 414269
Mobile:- 0782654402
Posted in Expats still want Votes for Life!, Gov Commitment on Vote for Life, Overseas Electors Bill, Reminding Government on "votes for Life", Votes for Life Latest (28 Feb, Why further delay "Votes for Life""? | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Brexit Impact on Pension & Voting Rights – Concerns of British Overseas Voter in EU.

You will find below a sample letter to his/her UK constituency MP from an overseas voter living in another EU member state but concerned by the impact of Brexit on his/her continuing pension and voting rights.

If you are a British citizen living within another EU member state but still retain the right to vote in UK elections and share these concerns, why not use this letter as a model to write to your home constituency MP in the UK?

Dear  …………,

I write to you as one of your overseas electors having lived in your constituency within the last 15 years so still vote there.

My reason for writing is to express my concern over two aspects of the Government’s recent policy paper “safeguarding the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU”. The first of these relates to pension up-rating.  This new policy is of enormous benefit to expatriates and greatly to be welcomed.  However it is most unfortunate that it is “subject to reciprocity”.

The Prime Minster, in her Lancaster House speech, said that Brexit “means taking control of our own affairs, as those who voted in their millions to leave the European Union demanded we must. So we will take back control of our laws and our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.”  But “subject to reciprocity” will mean that, as a British state pensioner living e.g. in Germany, France, Spain or elsewhere in the EU, whether or not my British pension is up-rated will be decided in Berlin, Paris, Madrid or where?

Before I retired, I was told that as I had spent time working overseas, I needed to make “additional voluntary contributions” and that, if I did so, I would receive a full state pension. So I did so.  Nobody told me that this full pension would be subject to Britain remaining in the European Union and, were we to leave, reciprocal arrangements being agreed with the state where I happened to be living.  Is it just to impose such additional conditions after the payments have already been made?

Also in the 17th January speech the PM said:  “I recognise how important it is to provide business, the public sector, and everybody with as much certainty as possible as we move through the process. So where we can offer that certainty, we will do so.”  So I write to ask you as my MP to make representations to the Government that they should live up to what the PM said then and offer pensioners such as myself the certainty that up-rating of our pensions will be maintained regardless of decisions taken by foreign governments.

The second aspect is that, as a British, and therefore EU, citizen living in another member state, I am entitled to vote here in municipal elections. That is something I always do and it is a right that I value, particularly where it enables me to vote for my local borough’s governing party.  So I was disappointed to see that there is no reference to voting rights in the policy paper.

I want to continue to be allowed to vote in such elections here, and I also wish to see EU nationals in the UK maintaining the same right. That would be consistent with the PM’s expression of our future relationship with the EU that she also set out in her speech.  May I therefore please also ask you to urge such a policy upon the Government?

Yours sincerely,

Posted in Brexit Impacts 2 Million Expat Brits!, Pension & Voting Rights Concerns, Voting Rights | Leave a comment